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Improved Environmental Shadows

by simsi45 Posted 30th Mar 2021 at 10:13 PM - Updated 2nd Apr 2021 at 3:28 PM by simsi45
10 Comments / replies (Who?) - 3 Feedback Posts, 7 Thanks Posts

Hello all, I'm very excited for today's upload!
There's no denying The Sims 3 is a stunning game, however there are definitely a few things that I've always wanted to tweak to make the game suit my "visual preferences" more. One of those things were the shadows.

I'm aware there are many beautiful lighting mods out there that edit the shadows, however they also edit a lot more INI resources (than my mod) to tweak additional values (such as the water & sky colors, weather settings etc.) The issue that I find with this, is that they work globally (meaning they take effect in all worlds) and as a result they override ALL of the different worlds' unique environmental parameters. (for example Bridgeport's cloudy scenery and dirty water, Shang simla's misty sky etc.) making all the worlds' lighting look the same and sometimes out of place.

I personally like EA's settings so this is why I decided to make a mod that ONLY edits the shadows to my personal liking.
My goal was to mimic TS3 beta's visuals as (in my opinion) looked much better and more defined than what we currently have.


[ALL before/after images in the post are taken at the exact same in-game hour]

1) The first and most noticeable difference is that the shadow and light values have been adjusted so that the shadows are darker, while at the same time retaining a relatively high light value. Think of it like a "contrast" filter on a digital photo! The main reason for this is to give more definition to the environment and make the game look sharper (notice the sides of the houses & buildings, the leaves of the trees etc.)

2) The second main difference is that the shadows respond more accurately to the sun's position, letting them stretch further towards the horizon. This is usually most noticeable during sunset/sunrise hours. At first I decided to max out these values so that the shadows would follow the sun's movement entirely. I quickly realized that during sunset/sunrise hours, the entire neighborhood would be covered in shadow making everything appear very cloudy and claustrophobic. So after a lot of playtesting I tuned it down where it's not as prominent but still more effective than the EA's default values.

[This image showcases the DYNAMIC difference between EA's and my modified shadows during the same sunrise hour. My DARKER shadow mod is also enabled]

This mod works GLOBALLY meaning that it will take effect in EVERY world. The only thing that's changing though are the SHADOWS so don't expect any fancy new water/sky colors or anything crazy like that. This is mostly intended for people like me that like EA's default settings for their worlds. (This means Twinbrook will still be cloudy and moody, Champs Les Sims will still have its pink skies etc.)

So starting off the mod is split in 2 pieces. You can use either one of them or combine them together:

This package darkens the shadows. It edits the Lighting.INI resource (0x5E4F8E7B226066CA) so it will conflict with any other lighting mod that does the same. If you want to use it alongside another conflicting lighting mod, you need to DELETE the mentioned INI resource from the CONFLICTING mod itself (not mine!)

This package makes the shadows more dynamic. It edits the Sky.INI resource (0x5E20253AF53E517F) so it will conflict with any other lighting mod that does the same. If you want to use it alongside another conflicting lighting mod, you need to DELETE the mentioned INI resource from the CONFLICTING mod itself (not mine!)

So in other words, in order to make my mod compatible with other lighting mods, you will have to DELETE the resources that my mod includes from the conflicting lighting mod you already have installed.

And that's pretty much it! I'm actually pretty happy with the end result, hope you also find it useful!
More to come soon stay safe!

Additional Credits: S3PE THIS amazing MTS discussion and everyone involved in it.

You must have the expansion or stuff packs listed below installed to use this custom content. Please see the post text for any exceptions.

Sims 3
Key: - File was updated after upload was posted
Filename - Tip: You can click the magnifying glass to see the archive contents Size Downloads Date
Simsi45_Improved_Outdoor_Shadows_DYNAMIC.rar | Contains the Sky INI resource that makes the shadows more dynamic. Will conflict with any other mod that edits the same resource!

Size: 2.4 KB · Downloads: 899 · 30th Mar 2021
2.4 KB 899 30th Mar 2021
Simsi45_Improved_Outdoor_Shadows_DARKER.rar | Contains the Lighting INI resource that makes the shadows darker. Will conflict with any other mod that edits the same resource!

Size: 540 Bytes · Downloads: 581 · 30th Mar 2021
540 Bytes 581 30th Mar 2021
Don't forget to Thank the creator after downloading! Use the Thanks button located above the screenshots above.
Basic Download and Install Instructions:

See: Game Help:TS3 CC Basicswiki for a full guide!
10 Comments / Replies (Who?) - 2 Feedback Posts, 7 Thanks Posts
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Test Subject
#2 Old 30th Mar 2021 at 11:20 PM
this was one thing i noticed missing after playing sims 4... Thanks for the mod
Field Researcher
#3 Old 31st Mar 2021 at 2:19 AM
This looks so much more realistic, what a huge transformation visually. Amazing mod, thank you!
Space Pony
#4 Old 31st Mar 2021 at 4:25 AM
First a mod of yours that provided a vast improvement on the game's Light Sources. And now one that improves on shadows

What's next I wonder? ???
Test Subject
#5 Old 31st Mar 2021 at 5:23 AM
Looks way better. Looking forward to trying. Thanks!
#6 Old 31st Mar 2021 at 1:54 PM
This is really amazing. I agree about the unique lighting of each world. I find that to be integral to the experience of each world and don't want to change it. I've done very little with lighting mods for just that reason.

I'm excited to try this in my game. Thank you!
Mad Poster
#7 Old 31st Mar 2021 at 6:39 PM
The Darker Shadows are genius! It'll definitely save me a step in tweaking the contrast in my photo edits! Kudos!
Test Subject
#8 Old 31st Mar 2021 at 9:49 PM
As if the light source mod wasn't already amazing enough...this is fantastic! Again I'm always grateful for the hard work you put into making the game sparkle
Lab Assistant
#9 Old 2nd Apr 2021 at 5:39 PM
Thank you, this looks incredible.
Test Subject
#10 Old 7th Apr 2021 at 12:37 AM
thank you so much I love your mods so much.
Test Subject
#11 Old 7th Apr 2021 at 11:47 PM
I love shadows, but I always wanted to make everything in the game 10-20 percent brighter. Is it even possible?